Intel launches 1.8GHz Pentium 4 processor

Intel has chosen today to release the next frequency ramp of the Pentium 4 processor at 1.8GHz. (That's 1800MHz for you old timers out there.) The company is filling a hole in its product line by releasing a 1.6GHz P4 today, as well. I have one of these 1.8GHz puppies here in Damage Labs, but I've not yet been able to prepare a complete review. I can tell you that it does indeed run at 1.8GHz, and that it should be marginally faster than the previous iterations of the Pentium 4. The difference between 1.7 and 1.8GHz isn't huge, so let me suggest you read my Pentium 4 1.7GHz review to get a general sense of how the chip performs.

Today you will likely see tech punditry online or on Tee Vee talking about how Intel now leads AMD firmly in the "speed race." This race has little or nothing to do with which processor is speedier—the Athlon at 1.2GHz is usually just a bit faster than the Pentium 4 at 1.7GHz. The punditry's new "speed race" is based only on clock speed, and I have no good explanation about why that doesn't involve gross incompetence. That's not to say the P4 isn't competitive—to the contrary, the 1.8GHz P4 ought to give an Athlon a very good run for its money—but MHz and GHz aren't magical properties to describe CPU performance. They're just clock speeds.

"Speed" lectures aside, the P4 1.8GHz is Intel's fastest processor yet. It will list for US$562, and the 1.6GHz version will go for US$294.

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